NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 34, Miami Dolphins 3

Tennessee Titans running back D'onta Foreman (7) runs in a touchdown during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022 in Nashville, Tenn. Titans Dolphins 085

With their 34-3 victory over the now 8-8 Miami Dolphins, the Tennessee Titans (11-5) have officially clinched a playoff spot and the AFC South title. 

The Titans were able to snap Miami’s seven-game winning streak on the back of D’Onta Foreman, who rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown. As for the Dolphins, their playoff hopes will be over if the Los Angeles Chargers defeat the Denver Broncos.

With the Cincinnati Bengals’ 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Titans now sit as the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Next week, Tennessee will travel to Houston to take on the Texans. Miami will host the New England Patriots.


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Tennessee Titans

Quarterback

It was a revenge game for Ryan Tannehill today, as he faced his former team from South Beach. And Tannehill did a solid job, going 13-for-18 for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Tanehill threw 8.2 yards down the football field on average and completed three of his eight 10-plus-yard passes for 56 yards and one score.

The Titans didn't need to pass much since they were in control of the game from the beginning, which led to a lot of clock-chewing via the ground game.

Running Back

The Titans have struggled without star running back Derrick Henry and have had to rely on a rushing attack by committee in his stead. Today, the slack was picked up by D'Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard.

Foreman rushed 26 times for 132 yards and a touchdown. Hilliard also got some valuable snaps by rushing eight times for 45 yards and the Titans’ second rushing score.

Luckily for Titans fans, there is a chance that Henry can make a return in the next few weeks.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Tennessee has had to rely more than usual on the passing attack this season, regardless of injuries to some of the team's best pass-catchers. Today, Tannehill spread the ball around. 

Tennessee's Target Spread vs. Miami | Week 17
Player Receptions Targets Receiving Yards Receiving Touchdowns
A.J. Brown 2 5 41 0
Dontrell Hilliard 3 3 33 0
Anthony Firkser 3 3 24 1
Geoff Swaim 3 3 9 1
Chester Rogers 2 2 13 0
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine 0 2 0 0

The leading pass-catcher for Tennessee today was A.J. Brown, who caught two of his five targets for 41 yards. But, unfortunately, the Titans lost one of their tight ends, MyCole Pruitt, to what looked like a severe lower leg injury.

Offensive Line

It has been an up-and-down year for the Titans’ offensive line. Today, the unit looked good enough to give Tannehill time. Tanehill was sacked only once, and four of the five starters earned pass-blocking grades above 82.0 on first review.

Defensive Line

Opposing defenses have got the best of Tua Tagovailoa when they have been able to pressure him. Today, the Titans’ defensive front managed to do so 13 times, including 10 hurries.

Kyle Peko was the biggest help of the crew, recording a sack and a pass-rushing grade of 85.8 on first review. Besides Peko, no other defensive lineman graded above 60.0.

Also getting in on the sack action were Denico Autry and Harold Landry III, who each took down Tagovailoa.

Linebacker

Tennessee’s linebacking corps looked solid in today’s victory. David Long came away with an interception, two tackles and two assists. He was the highest-graded linebacker at 77.1 on the first review.

Zach Cunningham also looked dependable, with four tackles and an assist.

Secondary

Tennessee’s secondary, on the other hand, was rough.

Elijah Molden was the best performer in this unit. Grading it at 85.5 in coverage, he didn’t allow a reception. He was the only member of the secondary to grade above 70.0.

Four members, who all played more than 40 coverage snaps each, allowed 10 receptions for 116 yards. That included Kristian Fulton, Amani Hooker, Kevin Byard and Jackrabbit Jenkins.

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Miami Dolphins

Quarterback

Tua Tagovailoa has improved over the season, but he continues to be more than a little turnover-prone. In the first half, he had an ugly fumble, probably due to the pouring freezing rain, but Tennessee recovered it and turned it into a field goal. Additionally, he threw a pick and recorded three total turnover-worthy plays.

The former first-round quarterback went 18-for-38 for 205 yards.

Running Back

Usually, Myles Gaskin is the Dolphins’ rushing attack. Today, he split the duties with Duke Johnson.

Today, Johnson rushed seven times for 49 yards. Gaskin was right behind him with five attempts for 23 yards.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Alabama product Jaylen Waddle has had a phenomenal rookie year catching passes from his former teammate. Today, he wasn’t as explosive but still caught three of his seven targets for 51 yards.

Jan 2, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) fights off a tackle attempt from Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally, Mike Gesicki and Devante Parker had themselves a day. They caught a combined eight passes and gained 97 yards.

Tight end Durham Smythe made an appearance, catching all three of his targets for 37 yards. It wasn’t a lot, but his contributions were important for the Dolphins today.

Offensive Line

Robert Hunt earned an overall grade of 82.8 and a pass-blocking grade of 89.1. Austin Jackson looked bad, allowing four total hurries.

Defensive Line

Christian Wilkins looked like a star on the defensive line today. He recorded seven tackles and two assists, including two tackles for a loss or no gain. Zach Sieler ended the game with five tackles, three assists and two tackles for loss or no gain.

Still, it usually isn’t a good day when none of your defensive linemen grade above 70.0.

Linebacker

The only Miami linebacker who had a day to remember is Jerome Baker, who tallied seven tackles and allowed two receptions for 18 yards in coverage.

Secondary

Eric Rowe was targeted once and only allowed five yards. He finished the day with a 90.0 coverage grade on first review.

While they didn’t play poorly by any means, Xavien Howard and Jevon Holland were by far the most picked on members of the secondary. Howard allowed one reception for 25 yards, and Holland allowed one reception for 15 yards and a touchdown.

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